Stay tuned as I share with some of my blogging tips.

Featured Writer Friday – Dan Swords

Hello everyone, I’m Dan and I am the chief content creator for danswords.com (the only content creator, LOL). I live in the northern suburbs of Chicago in Lake Forest, Illinois. When I’m not writing (… when am I ever not writing??) I like to be outside, run, workout, cook, and travel. Between Tracy and I we have four kids, all grown. She has two sons in the San Francisco area and I have two daughters in the Las Vegas area. Tracy and I also share our traveling experiences on another website of ours call The Empty Nesters’ Weekend Adventures. We are also on YouTube and Instagram. We’ll be out and about this summer doing some more filming. So be sure to follow us to see what we are up to.

1. How long have you been blogging?

I have been blogging for 5 years, though I’ve been writing for 30+ years. I enjoy taking that blank piece of paper and turning it into something that someone can use.
I enjoy writing, it’s my escape. Some people like to read, I like to write.

2. Are you a full-time blogger or do you also have another job/career?

Besides blogging, I'm also a technical writer.

Besides blogging, I’m also a technical writer.

By day, I am a mild-mannered technical writer, but on nights and weekends, I create the content, eBook, and newsletters for danswords.com.

3. What got you started into blogging?

That’s kind of a long story, but I think it points to where I am today.
When I was in high school, I just did enough to get by. I did not like my English (grammar) classes nor did I like writing.  When I went to college that was another story. I guess things were different because it was on all my dime (meaning I had to pay for it).
I was in a technical writing class, and my instructor handed me my report back. It was about the Hoover Dam and how it was constructed. I remember it still to this day, he handed me my paper and said, “You’re a good technical writer.”
Those five words have made me what I am and love to do today. After that, writing was no longer a chore, but an outlet for my creativity. Something that I look forward to every day. Though I get burned-out sometimes, writing is still my escape.

4. What is your blog about and how does it help others?

My byline is, Helping others achieve their dreams through blogging.

danswords.com is a website dedicated to communication in today’s digital world. In the past, we would put pen to paper to journal our thoughts. Today, we sit at our keyboard and after a few keystrokes, our work is published for the world to see. I provide the material and inspiration to get the beginning blogger from a blank screen to a published post. I want to see everyone succeed.

5. What is working for you and your blog? Why?

Twitter
I think Twitter is a great tool for bloggers. If you are not using it to grow your following, then you are missing out.
Featured Writer Friday
I can’t believe how popular Featured Writer Friday is!! This was just something that I thought about, I like the way the name flowed. I put out a couple tweets and well, here we are. As of this writing, I’m booked out several weeks. I think Featured Writer Friday will turn into a podcast in the fall.
Blogging schedule
I like to post blogs on Sunday, Tuesday (sometimes Wednesday) and Friday. I looked at where my followers are and I noticed that when I schedule a post to go live at 9:00 Chicago time, that I was missing out on when some of my followers were already up. I was missing people in Europe and the UK. So I switched my post time to 1:00 AM Chicago time. Now there are more eyes on my post.

6. What did not work out so well for your blog? Why?

Trying to do too many things at once.
At one time, I was doing my technical writer day job, blogging at danswords.com and trying to grow a freelance writing business. That took a lot out of me and everything suffered. So I had to focus on one or the other. My day job had to stay. So I had to choose between freelancing or blogging. I knew that being a freelance writer would bring more money but blogging brings me more enjoyment. As you all can tell, I choose to blog and I haven’t regretted it.

I tried Facebook and Facebook ads with no real luck. Facebook and I just don’t seem to click. Maybe if I had more follower then I would try to make it work out. My Facebook page is my personal page, but I’d like to make it more for danswords.com.

Me and Sami the puggle out for a walk.

Me and Sami out for a walk.

7. What tools are you using that you can introduce my readers to? 

Grammarly, remember the answer to question 3? I still need some help from time to time.
Capitalize My Title
Twitter of course

Social Media Scheduler, Zoho, I use Zoho.com right now though I am switching back to HootSuite. HootSuite is just better and easier to use.

Fiverr is a great tool to get stuff done. I use people on Fiverr all of the time.

WordPress to host my site. It’s easy to use and the plugins are great.

8. What piece of advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting a blog?

Do it and don’t look back. If you get stuck, there are plenty of resources or people on the web to help you get unstuck.
This will not be easy. It will take time and effort to build up your following. There is a whole network of people out there willing to help. If you get stuck, ask for help. Don’t sit there thinking that you are the only person with this particular problem.

9. What’s in store for the future of your website?

Podcast
With the popularity of Featured Writer Friday, I think this format may work out nicely as a podcast.

eBook
I’m working on an eBook tentatively titled, The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Blogging and Social Media. I’m hoping the book will be available in June.

Newsletter, My newsletter started out kind of slow. But I have been consistent at it. But I’d like to step it a little to at least twice a month.
YouTube, this is where I want to start focusing. I have a YouTube channel but there is nothing on it. Yet. But, you can go ahead and subscribe. That will give me a little more incentive to get it rolling.

10. Where can everyone find you?

danswords.com
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

Some of my other sites…

Blogger
Pinterest
Google+
YouTube There’s not much there, but there will be… I’m going to make video an integral part of my website.

I hope you enjoyed today’s featured writer!! Next week’s featured writer is Tom Stalin. You photography buffs won’t want to miss this one!!!

Are you interested in participating in Featured Writer Friday? Check out the guidelines page for more information.

If you like this post (or if you didn’t like it) or if there is a topic that you’d like me to cover, then drop me a note in the comments section. I reply to every comment.
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